dimanche 17 février 2019

Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries

Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries


This basic book teaches you the fundamentals of adjustment techniques. Given, however, that there are rumored to be 840,000 yoga postures (according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika), this book does not show you every adjustment for every pose. Rather, I give you the tools, competence and confidence to extrapolate what you learn about basic postures and their adjustments to postures that have similar mechanics and alignment.
 For a thorough understanding of adjustments, a comprehensive teacher training program is the best course of learning. The Kaivalya Yoga Method Online Teacher Training with facenoot.com contains a full module with video instruction, testing, and mentor feedback on this topic and can be found here
The Learning and Testing Process 
When first learning any adjustment, there are a few rules to follow to make sure you maintain the integrity of your adjustment practice and the student/teacher relationship. Here are the guidelines to follow:
 First, find someone (ideally an experienced teacher) who can do the adjustment on you. This will allow you to feel in your own body if the adjustment indeed serves the mechanics, anatomy and alignment of the pose. Be discerning! Direct experience always informs you more accurately and powerfully than mere suggestion or second-hand learning.
 Second, practice on willing people who are not your students. For example, practice on a friend, partner or fellow yoga teacher – someone who is not afraid to tell you what you might do differently, such as hand placement or pressure. Students never give you the concise and honest feedback you need, nor is it their job to do this. Your students come to your classes having every confidence in you and your knowledge. You must ensure you rise to their expectations by becoming experts at the elements you bring to class, whether it be dharma talks, alignment, clever playlists, or adjustments. Students see us as the guides, and just as a professor wouldn’t ask his students whether he is teaching them calculus accurately,  as a yoga teacher, you are there to impart the knowledge you’ve gathered to your students compassionately and confidently.
 When you feel 100% confident with a particular adjustment, it is then appropriate to bring it into the studio. This complete level of confidence is important because students feel it subconsciously, and your confidence will allow them to be more receptive to the adjustment given. If for any reason and at any point you are not 100% confident, move on and either adjust a different student or go back to steps one and two. Students are best served by confident adjustments.
 
Thinking Outside the Box 
As you learn the fundamentals of adjusting, you can begin to extrapolate your knowledge to different poses and new situations. Many poses look similar, with similar body alignment and mechanics. Many poses have pieces and parts that we can find in others. We can take what we know about how to adjust certain elements of the postures (alignment, mechanics, anatomy) and apply these elements to poses with related shapes.
 Here are three examples of this “inter-applicability” of adjustments: 
Tadasana 
There are a couple of adjustments that are excellent for tadasana that are highly applicable in a multitude of situations.
 Faucet-Shoulders: This adjustment broadens the front of the chest and sets the shoulders into good alignment. This adjustment can literally be done in almost every posture where this would be helpful. For example, in cobra pose and in warrior 2. 
To do this adjustment, place the hands on the top outer edge of the shoulders. The thumbs are placed on the shoulder blade, and the fingers wrap over the top of the shoulders. Just as you turn on a faucet, press the thumbs in and forward, and pull the fingers out and back. Perform this “faucet” turning at the same time to ensure equal and opposite force is placed on the shoulder to open and broaden the chest.
 Head Lift: This adjustment aligns and creates length in the spine. It is fantastic for many standing balance poses including tree and utthitha padanghusthasana.
 To do this adjustment, place the thumbs gently beneath the occipital ridge of the head. This is just below the skull on either side of the spine. Place the fingertips of the first two fingers just behind the temples near the hairline. With gentle, even pressure, simply lift straight up. This creates an awareness to lengthen the spine, and helps with balance and posture.
 External Rotation / Upward-Reaching Arms 
Any time the arms reach up, they are externally rotated and can always be adjusted in the same general way, even when the body is turned upside down! We adjust the upper arms in the same way whether a person is in downward facing dog or in urdhva hastasana.
 To do this adjustment, place the hands on the upper arm with the thumbs toward the inner arm, and the fingers wrapping around the outer arm. Gently and firmly rotate the upper arm toward the fingers (external rotation). This helps the scapula to widen and allows the upper trapezius muscles to release.
 Forward Folds 

The mechanics and alignment of standing forward folds are generally the same across the board. Once we understand how to adjust uttanasana, for example, we can do that same adjustment on a student in prasarita padottanasana (wide-legged forward fold).
 To adjust uttanasana, place one flat adjusting hand on the sacrum, directly above the heels. Press straight down to ensure balance and stability. Place the other hand firmly on the back with the fingertips toward the head. Without sliding or moving the hand, press down and toward the legs to deepen the stretch. The pressure does not need to be great for the student to benefit from the adjustment. This adjustment helps to stabilize the student in the posture, and offer direction and insight into the experience of the posture.

Discovering Worthwhile Adjustments
When practicing with another teacher, they may do a new adjustment on a student next to you that looks intriguing. In this case, you have a stellar opportunity to learn something new for your repertoire! Everyone in yoga is always learning from one another – just make sure to follow the steps in learning and testing process to ensure that any new adjustments you learn are learned properly and that you are fully prepared to perform these adjustments on your students.
And also remember, while this manual doesn’t give you an adjustment for every single pose, it lays down some fundamental concepts. This is just the beginning of the journey in learning adjustments, and getting comfortable with a hands-on connection to students when it is appropriate. For now, practice the basic mindfulness described here and infuse it into your own practice, or as you teach. 

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